The presence of Ian Forster at the press conference today makes me think SBW will not feature in the up-coming Rugby Championship: which in my books is a real shame for rugby lovers.
Lets hope the Chiefs go the whole way, for fans of SBW and the rugby franchise as it is bound to be the last sight of the super-star in our code for at least 18 months.
Williams, 26, at 11:45 this morning will reveal at least the first part of his plans for next season and they are not thought to involve rugby in New Zealand.
Williams will be accompanied by All Black assistant coach Ian Foster and Chiefs coaches Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith.
For me the interesting seat on the panel is Foster – who looks the elephant in the room – why is he there?
My guess is that it may have something to do with a side announcement that he won’t be involved with the All Blacks in their next campaign: The Rugby Championship.
With Williams’ name appearing on a list of registered players for next season’s Japanese Top League, it has inadvertently let Williams’ immediate plans out of the bag.
If Williams does head to Japan in September then he will not be available for most of the new Rugby Championship.
The Championship starts in August and runs through to the first week in October and it would be surprising if the All Blacks coaches are happy to allow Williams to play in the early matches if he is to leave after that.
Foster’s presence at today’s announcement will mean the situation will be clarified very quickly.
Williams and his Sydney manager Khoder Nasser have always insisted on one-year deals and with this in mind then it is still possible that the second five-eighth could return to the All Black ranks for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Media announcement 11:45 (35 minutes time) stayed tuned.
Sayonara Sonny Bill: Move confirmed
NZRU CEO Steve Tew said Williams had exercised a right under his contract to leave New Zealand rugby following the Investec Super Rugby competition which seems to indicate that Williams will not figure in the Rugby Championship. Tew, also noted that Williams had advised that he would not be seeking to return to New Zealand rugby in 2013, but has not ruled out a return to New Zealand rugby in the future.
Sonny Bill Williams has played 17 Tests for the All Blacks and more than 20 Super Rugby matches for the Chiefs and Crusaders and joined New Zealand rugby in 2010, first playing for Canterbury in the ITM Cup. With his size, strength and trademark offloads he made an immediate impact, became a fan favourite, and was picked for the All Blacks on the 2010 end of year tour, playing in four Tests. He played for the Crusaders in the 2011 Investec Super Rugby season and his impressive form saw him selected again for the All Blacks Investec Tri Nations side and Rugby World Cup-winning squad. He made the switch to the Chiefs in 2012 and his outstanding play saw him again selected for the All Blacks Steinlager Series against Ireland and he scored two tries in the team’s 60-0 third Test win.Tweet